Archives for posts with tag: jenniferhansenrolli

Is anything purely without influence?

This is my old bunny, Freddy….AND my first character sketch for Just One More. I did a search for first sketches to write a post and this guy popped up. I had forgotten about taking a crack at starting this book 10 years ago! The digital drawing never made it before the eyes of any decision makers. He only went as far as placement in a sample spread and then I closed the book for 7 years before I would revisit Just One More and the idea of becoming a children’s book illustrator, again. What an influence old Fred had on this sketch and I was oblivious at the time. He too, was once all yellow calico to match the insides of his ears but had worn so thin that my daughter thought it was a good idea to give him a new exterior.  Nice job, and she was careful to encase his original saggy body, couldn’t bear to cut it off. When I look to Ruby, my final character for the book, she is a conglomeration of my kids and a friend or two. A regular Frankenstein, you might say. 5 1/2 weeks before Ruby meets the world, let’s hope there is something in her for everyone.

PUSH

1964 family

My mom was certainly talking about money when she said this, but who the heck was flaunting it? I think it must have been her token response when I noticed or heard about something fabulous in someone else’s life. Either she was trying to pacify me or, more likely, pacify herself. Growing up in Yardley, Pennsylvania was not the richy rich it was, or is, perceived for my family or for the many families in the massive 50/60s split colonial style neighborhood I lived in. We were just a bunch of gritty kids with no boundaries, living on hand-me-downs and store brand food items. None of the moms I knew worked, except Wendy Rainy’s….why they didn’t name her Windy is beyond me. She had a beautiful mom with an even more glamorous aunt who attended every one of Wendy’s extravagant birthday parties. They were not Flaunters but those two women certainly had beauty accentuated with Elizabeth Taylor style make-up. Then there was Elsie next door, quite a bit of a dreamer with a polish husband that had one volume…10plus. A volume my dad liked to entertain most Saturdays when one of his five children were holding the flashlight into the engine of his Volkswagen and inevitably drifting into ideas of what they wish they were doing. Elsie, would tiptoe around in high heeled sandals and a white Marilyn bathing suit…..and way too tan. To me she looked quite lovely for someone who must have been at least 70 or 80. One day she confided in my mom and admitted she had one of the bedrooms converted into her “Hollywood Room”. Each wall was a different color with a chaise, one of those couches that swoops to one side for lounging….she said it was where she sipped her martini and pretended to be a star. I guess regular people really were meditating before it came into fashion. Now, Elsie may have been bragging to my mom, or maybe she thought my mom should convert one of our bedrooms, I don’t know…but Elsie had an escape and was proud. Actually, my mom did work. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday the doorbell rang every half hour with incoming piano students. And why not on Wednesday? She earned just enough from all those lessons to get herself a train ticket to NY and a big fat NY voice lesson every week. That was her escape, her religion, her everything. I don’t remember her flaunting to others about her hiatus from suburbia, but today, at 82, it is the one thing she remembers clearly. Never speaks of raising us kids but, boy oh boy, she remembers her teacher and director’s first and last names perfectly. And I am glad. She wasn’t meant to raise 5 kids, but she did. I am so glad to be here and I know she feels the same. But what did she think about at night when she lay down to bed…exhausted. Were there regrets of walking away from her music scholarship to marry? Did she wonder if she could have been Joan Sutherland? I wonder, too. She was at home with her eccentric NY friends. Perhaps they envied her suburbia life but I am certain she did not flaunt it. I bet they didn’t even know she had kids….and I’m glad.